After 10 years of loyal service my TdF-yellow, custom-built steel Hillbrick has decided it no long wants to carry two-metre-tall, 96-ish kilogram me.

Because of aforementioned dimensions, I expect my next bike will have to be another custom creation, which will hopefully last at least as long.

Among other things, I'm thinking titanium.

If you were in the market for a racing bike that needed to last a while, what would your considerations be?

Disc brakes?

Di2 shifters?

The combined brains trust (or individuals therein) did me a solid some years ago by urging me to get disc brakes for the Surly tourer, which was A Very Wise Decision.

So, any thoughts? 

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My Backroad tourer has done 11,500kms and the Sportive has 8,400kms on the front pads and still got plenty of meat on them. I know that MTB riding is harder on the pads than my road/touring, but maybe the type of pad you're using needs to be considered!

Have to say (again) that the cable TRP Spyres on both Lynskey (back & front) and Vivente (front) are perfect (within my limited experience) and I rarely touch them between LBS services (3-5,000kms). Lynskey has had one pad (TRP original) replacement on front at 5,000kms. Using the Shimano equivalent pad (M525/M515) as the TRP ones hard to find, there is a SwissStop variant (twice+ the price) that is said to be better? (reminder to self, check the front as it must be well over 5000 now)

After I got the Lynskey I replaced the BB7 on the Vivente with the TRP and am 500% happier.

Hard to conceive of them being any better, can't see myself ever doing hydraulic, brake bleeding at midnight in the rain 100kms from home is not one of the skills I wish to develop.

I'm not sure I'd be judging all disc brakes on the basis of Hayes cable operated ones. I'm pretty sure they are not in the better performing category.

Most cable operated disc brakes are not very good, they are heavy, fiddly and annoying. I use Avid BB7 brakes on all of my bikes and I'd never recommend any other cable discs brake, at least until TPG introduced their Spyre brakes. The newest TPG brakes have both brake pads moving, which dramatically improves their performance and reduces the fiddling to get their set up right. I'd definitely recommend replacing those Hayes, although on a 29er you may as well go for Shimano hydraulic brakes and be done with it.

A lot of people worry about hydraulic brakes for more remote riding, although I'm not entirely sure why. I've NEVER had a brake issue beyond worn pads in years of mountain biking. Yes, it is possible that you might rip out a hydraulic hose in a huge crash, but you probably aren't walking away from such a crash either.

If your brakes are well maintained, I cannot envisage why you would ever need to bleed them mid ride.

Both pads moving would make a big difference for sure!

To reduce excessive lever play with the Hayes discs, winding the cable adjuster only gets you so far. You end up with not quite so excessive lever play, and dragging brakes and squeaking noises. You need to manually adjust the inner pad with a 2mm allen key by reaching through the spokes. It's a bloody pain.

The bike is overdue for some upgrade work. New crankset, new brakes and levers. Maybe my mind will be changed afterwards ......... 

You don't need fancy, nor expensive brakes. Just buy whatever Shimano hydraulic brakes from Deore upwards that you can find on sale somewhere.

I promise you they will blow your mind with just how much better they are than the Hayes mechanicals. 

I've heard the "fixing a broken bike on a tour" argument for steel for years 

Take it from me. It's true. [See PM]


How about a Baum custom titanium frame. Might be expensive, but it will last a decade or more...

I'd go Ti (and wish I had when the AU$ was $1.05 against the greenback. But I digress). 

Try these guys out >> 

Some fellow DHBCers have these and they do custom. Better than the Chinese Ti bikes. they don't flex :-) 


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